There’s lots of producers all over the world probably barely even noticing that we are in a lockdown at the moment. Producing music can sometimes be a lonely job, and it certainly does need a lot of concentration and sometimes even isolation.
This current pandemic is making it very hard for musicians and producers and DJs and artists aswell as everyone else, but one of the few plus sides is that some have some more time to make music. Music is an important outlet in times of stress, and even those who make or play music for a hobby can appreciate this extra time dedicated to it. And it’s the same for casual music fans. From a personal level, I mentioned last week, that it’s giving me some extra time to watch DJs and producers in action over live streams, but it’s also giving me and others a lot more time to watch and read interviews too.
One such interview was a short piece in Mixmag recently where Kevin Saunderson of Inner City explained the origins behind the iconic classic house tune “Big Fun”, which was a huge hit for his group, and changed everything for dance music when it came out. I watched another one where the legendary producer Marley Marl spoke about the origins to Eric B and Rakims, “Eric B for President”, another record that made a huge impact, this time on hip-hop. And finally there was a nice piece in the Examiner about the breakthrough made by Fish Go Deep when they released “The Cure and the Cause”; corks iconic dance duo “suddenly” becoming a 15 year old overnight success around the world!
There are many such videos and articles on youtube and in newspapers and all over the web. As i said last week I don’t normally have the time to check out so many. But pausing for thought lately made me realise once again how much of it all comes down to chance. I’ve played each of those three records mentioned hundreds of times in many different gigs, festivals and on radio too. But getting to the root of their creation is always interesting, and it’s amazing how each tune had relatively humble and modest origins.
Fish Go Deep (aka Greg and Shane) had already crafted music in their studio for 10 years but their expertise in being amazing DJ’s was at the core of this classic track too, sung by Tracey K. They have often spoke of how in their early days they were just learning as they went along as DJ’s and producers, and it reminded me of doing the same as a youngster who used go watch them in Sir Henrys. Little did I realise that they too were still learning and developing. Even now we all are in 2020!
Kevin Saunderson and (to a lessor extent) Marley Marl were both at the earlier stages of their careers when they made “Big fun” and “Eric B is President”. The nuts and bolts of how both of these records were created was explored very well, and it became striking to me how simple it all seemed. These weren’t records made in huge sophisticated studios. And having worked with Greg and Shane in their studios in Douglas and Blackrock I can promise you that we aren’t talking about Abbey road here either, but the duo have always made the best use of their equipment even when it was a modest set up. The core of all of these great songs was the idea and the simplicity of execution was incredible, even with music that still sounds amazing.
Producers can be sitting down in front of a blank screen now searching for inspiration, but it’s pretty cool that one day, maybe even today, they might make a tune that changes everything. It’s the same for song writers. I heard “Big Fun” and “Good Life” by Inner City on the radio as a young teen and introduced me to the house music I would end up falling in love with years later on the dancefloors of Sir Henrys. Eric B and Rakim helped changed my perception of hip-hop. “The Cure and the cause” introduced generations of people to house music too, and provided a gateway into different realms of music for many who didn’t even know who Fish go Deep were beforehand. They’ve produced arguably even better music at times, but one track can change it all. It’s pretty exciting when you think of it!